The original photograph of this late nineteenth century postcard
must date back to the late 1880s. What helps date the picture
is that the rebuilding of the main front of Smedley's Hydro
was put in hand in 1886.
This image was taken after then but an approximate date
cannot be gleaned from the postmark on the back. Cards
were sold for some years after their intitial publication.
To help work out a date we looked carefully at Lime Grove
is the street that goes to the right from just below Bridge
House (now the Town Hall). The only building on it is a detached
villa that stands a little way down from the junction with
St. Joseph's Street and New Street. On the corner of Lime
Grove Walk and New Street there is a patch of unoccupied
ground. The next image shows
building work in progress on this land and we therefore decided
on the approximate date for the two cards, as we have an
approximate date for one of those properties.
The 1880s saw several more churches built on Matlock Bank:
they were All Saints', St. Joseph's and Matlock Wesleyan Chapel
(now Matlock Methodist and United Reformed Church) and can
all be seen in the picture, though you may have to look hard.
Schools did not develop at quite the same pace. Some of the
churches had schoolrooms but worship was clearly considered
to be more important than a decent education at the time. Land
on the Bank was also being sold for housing. For example, in
1888 Else and Son offered for sale "a
PLOT most eligible and BUILDING LAND, situate near Bank-road,
Matlock Bank ... having extensive frontages to two good roads,
most admirably situated for the erection of Villa Residence".
In the decade between the 1881 census and that of 1891 the
population of Matlock, Matlock Bath and District as a whole
increased by a little over 1,000 persons.
The houses and shops at the southern end of Dale Road (bottom
left) were built in the 1880s although the Temperance Hotel
(bottom left corner) was of slightly earlier date.